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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – Beetle Bailey Firsts!

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we do a spotlight on Beetle Bailey firsts!

Mort Walker debuted his creation, Beetle Bailey, on September 4, 1950, as a college student…

On March 13th of the following year, Beetle enlisted in the army…

Here’s something I’m not sure of, and the source of all these comics (Mort Walker’s Best of Beetle Bailey book from seven years ago – well worth a read!) is unclear on this, as well.

Which is the first appearance of Sarge?

This strip from March 30th is DEFINITELY Sarge…

But is this strip from March 20th also Sarge?

I dunno, so I figured I’d give you both.

Walker does not provide debut dates for the other 1951 characters like General Halftrack, Killer, Cookie and Zero, so I guess I’ll skip them.

On June 9th, we see the debut of a recurring bit in the strip, Beetle having issues with hiding the delicious cakes his mother sends him…

If there are any comic firsts that you’re curious about, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

12 Comments

Actually, in re Beetle Bailey, I’d like to know the first mention of his sister Lois, who appears in Hi and Lois.

I like this comic strip run of features.

In the Danish Beetle Bailey comic titled Basserne, it has been noted several times that the 30th March strip is the offical first debut of Sarge. I think if I remember correctly that the General appear for the first time in the year 1953.

The strip sure changed its look over the years.

Wow. Beetle Bailey was bullied into joining the army?! I’m never going to read the strip the same way again.

Seeing him as Joe College is like seeing the early Blondie strips were Dagwood is a wealthy idler and Blondie’s a gold-digger. I wonder if Walker intended the strip to go permanently Army or if he just thought it would be a temporary gag?

intereting always wonder exactly when beetle not only got into the army but also his first encounter with sarge. though wonder if beetle ever appeared in hi and lois given she is suppose to be his sister

That’s interesting–I’d always thought Beetle was a draftee, despite being a college student at the time. I could have sworn I’d seen a strip with him walking past a recruiting office and a hand reaching out to grab him.

how many wars had Beetle “fought” in – Korea, Vietnam, the middle east in the 1980′s, Central America in the 1980s, Desert Storm, Iraq/Afghanistan … (did I miss any?) In all this time, he’s never been deployed overseas? Then again, considering that Beetle Bailey isn’t really going to WIN any wars, I suppose the point is moot.

And yes, I realize I’m criticizing Beetle Bailey for not being historically or factually accurrate. Which must be some kind of first in the world of fandom.

I honestly wouldn’t bet on that.

So did Beetle spin off from Hi and Lois or vice versa?

sgt rawk-I remember a Mad Magazine bit where Beetle decides to stop being such a screw up, and does so well Sarge tells him he’s being shipped off to Vietnam.

I think it was “What if comic strips were like real life?”, or something like that.

Hi & Lois spun off from Beetle Bailey, not the other way around.

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